With fall officially upon us and winter less than a few months away, it’s time to start thinking about making the necessary home improvements to ensure your home is able to withstand winter’s harsh elements. Home improvement expert Tom Kraeutler of The Money Pit joined me recently to discuss his top five home improvement must haves and projects to ensure your home is safe and ready for fall and winter 2013!
Candace Rose: What home improvement projects should we prioritize before winter weather arrives?
Tom Kraeutler: “Fall is a good time to consider how much insulation you have in your attic. What I would do is go up in the attic- a little trick of the trade is this: Take a look at the top of your floor joys. If you can see the wood, you need more insulation. If you’re going to add insulation OwensCorning has a new system called AttiCat, it’s an expanding blown in insulation. You buy the bags of insulation, and you rent the blowing machine, you pull the hose up to the attic, and you basically fill in all the nooks and crannies. In four hours you can do an average sized attic. This insulation won’t settle, it produces less dust, it has good sound control and sustainable. It’s made of 65% recycled content.”
Candace Rose: What are some new technologies that are revolutionizing home safety and security?
Tom Kraeutler: “When it comes to home security, in the forms of fall, as the days get shorter and the nights get longer it’s a good time to think about security lighting. Secure Home is a security light by HeathZenith. It gives you 243 degree protection. It’s two head led motion detection light. The way it works with the dual zone technology is it sees the area away from the light, but also sees the area up under the light. It’s available at Lowes and is a very easy do it yourself project you can do on any weekend.”
Candace Rose: And speaking of weekends, can you recommend a quick fix up?
Tom Kraeutler: “Take a look at your home wireless connection. If you’ve ever had a problem with it dropping or where you have to reboot a modem, think about adding the APC Back-Ups Pro 500. This device will add power to the modem and to the router, and also has technology that enables you to reboot in remotely. In fact, it will do it by itself. If the modem gets hung, it will sense that and reboot it. You don’t even have to be around it to do that. You can also log into it from any web enabled wireless device.
In my house my thermostat is wireless. If my router goes down, I have a problem.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other must haves we need to know about?
Tom Kraeutler: “Well, now is a really good time if you don’t have one- consider an automatic standby generator. Kohler has the automatic standby generator, it’s really the best way to protect your power. The way this works is- this unit is installed outside your house, it gets hooked up to your home’s electrical system. It runs on propane natural gas. This 20 kilowatt unit is enough to cover all the major systems and appliances in your home. We’re talking about lighting, heating, security systems, sump pumps and so on. It also has a remote management option where you can actually keep an eye on it from afar. For example- if you hear the power has gone off at home and you want to make sure the generator’s on so you can see what’s going on and you can log in from work and check it out. You can look at Kohler.com. I was a Hurricane Sandy victim and we ran on nine days with my automatic standby generator, it was a real blessing to have.
And lastly, have you ever left home and had that panicked feeling that you left your garage door open? It’s happened to a lot of us. Now there’s an app for that. It’s actually called the Chamberlain MyQ Garage. It’s a universal smartphone garage door controller. The way it works is if you thought you left the garage door opened, you would take a look at the app, and it would tell you, yes it’s open. You activate it and the light begins to flash at home on the garage door opener. This sends out a warning that anybody that’s nearby has to get out of the way, then the garage door would close. Once it completes and closes, it’s going to send a signal back to the app to tell you it’s in fact closed.
If you need a new garage door opener, the MyQ technology is built right into it. It will work on any garage door that was built after 1993. It’s a great product, and starting 11/01…it’s available. You can pick it up at The Home Depot or select Best Buy stores.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you so much, Tom. Where can we go for more information?
Tom Kraeutler: “On our website MoneyPit.com, we have lots of tips and advice including details on all the products I talked about today.”